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Caroline Scully, Animal Control Officer Carrie Loholdt, Code Enforcement Officer Scott Koczela, neighbors Angela Tetreault and Aimee Annichiarico met Friday to discuss the details of the rescue project.

Adams Group Hopes To Save Cats From Vacant Building

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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A barn, garage and apartment complex behind the former hardware store are set to be razed.
ADAMS, Mass. — Summer Street neighbors are hoping to rescue some stray cats from  poisoning and demolition.

The town is poised to raze the vacant buildings behind the former Albert's Hardware on Summer Street to make way for a new parking lot. The town's required to put out rat poison to ensure the rats there don't flee to neighboring homes.

But while the buildings are set to come down in July, there are still six cats living in the buildings that neighbors have been feeding for years.

Led by Caroline Scully, a group is hoping to trap those cats, care for them and then put them up for adoption.

"We know of 10 cats. Two are in foster care and two others are at Greylock Animal Hospital in North Adams right now because they have health problems," Scully said Friday morning, when she met with the individuals involved in the project. "When I realized that by law they have to put poison down, I realized not only were the cats at risk because of the buildings falling down but that they would likely be poisoned."

Scully first heard about the cats about a year ago when plans to tear the buildings down were only on the radar. However, the town has since secured grant funding for the demolition.

Scully reached out to Greylock Animal Hospital, which operates the Adams Veterinary Clinic on Summer Street. The hospital, which has a fund for aiding stray animals, has set aside $500 for veterinarian bills for spaying and neutering, vaccinations and other needs.

However, with two of the cats giving birth to kittens, the group does not expect that to be enough. Animal Control Officer Carrie Loholdt, who is providing a place for the cats to live until they can be adopted, estimated $100 is needed for each of the 15 cats.

"I would say we need $100 per cat including the kittens," Loholdt said.

Trash left by what town officials believe was a trash hauler has attracted all types of animals to the buildings.
Loholdt is not helping Scully and the neighbors as part of her animal control job — she is volunteering space on her farm personally. The same goes for Aimee Annichiarico, who works at Greylock Animal Hospital.

Annichiarico has experience trapping and when Scully first contacted the animal hospital about the project, Annichiarico volunteered.

"When I heard about the project, I just wanted to help," Annichiarico said. "There really is no organization to provide these resources. It really comes from the care of the community."

The project will start in a few days when the neighbors who have been feeding the cats will be given traps. The neighbors are setting up a regular feeding schedule inside the unset traps. Once the cats get used to the traps in a few weeks, the neighbors will capture them. From there they will be transported to Loholdt's property.

Loholdt is looking for volunteers who can feed the cats. The food is being donated by the Adams Friends of Animals.

The detiorated buildings are overrun with animals. Code Enforcement Officer Scott Koczela suspects that a trash hauler had been throwing the trash into the abandoned buildings. When contractors came to look at the site on Thursday, Koczela said he found piles of trash inside.

"The owner of the building has been ordered to remove it," Koczela said. "We've got rats, skunks, opossums and raccoons living here."

Photo courtesy of Carrie Loholdt
One of the captured cats gave birth to four kittens and another is expected to give birth soon.
While not part of this project, Loholdt said some of the other animals may be trapped and released in the wild. Cats that are too feral be adopted would be released someplace where they can continue to be cared for and monitored. The group would also purchase shelters for the cats but they don't think it will happen.

"We anticipate that most of them will be adoptable," Annichiarico said.

Scully added that the cats would not be euthanized.

The group is seeking donations and volunteers to help with the project. Donations can be made through Loholdt's animal rescue company, Great Danes Around New England Rescue. Donations must include a note that they are for the cats so Loholdt can keep track of those funds. More information can be found on the group's Facebook page.

Tags: cats,   demolition,   donations,   strays,   traps,   vacant building,   veterinarian,   wild animals,   

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